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Open Access Publications from the University of California


CIEE is a dedicated group of experts who define, conduct, and manage public-interest energy research. Based in the University of California, at CITRIS, CIEE puts its experts and other leading researchers from universities, government, industry, and nonprofits, to work on energy challenges, yielding new ideas and technologies to meet California’s pace-setting energy goals. 

California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE)

There are 496 publications in this collection, published between 1993 and 2023.
Behavior (18)

Behavior and Energy White Papers: Use of Papers and Next Steps

In the last two years, the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE) managed nine white papers on behavior and energy that were funded by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). In order to determine what should be done in the future in the area of behavior and energy, CIEE conducted a survey in the Fall of 2009 to assess the value of these papers, see how these papers have been used and are planning to be used, and determine what additional activities should be conducted in the area of behavior and energy (e.g., more white papers or other activities). Many of the respondents felt that the papers were beneficial and useful. The papers represented an extraordinary resource that could be accessed over time for guidance in designing, implementing, and evaluating policies and programs. The papers also reflected cutting edge research that highlighted big ideas, raised questions regarding existing energy policy and programs, and kept them informed on progress in the areas of behavior and energy efficiency. Many respondents had already made use of the papers for: general inspiration; training staff; referring to the papers as part of a research study, scientific article, or a proposal; and increasing their understanding of how technology is applied in the market to guide research projects, and of the increasing role of behavioral motivation in energy efficiency. Respondents have also used the papers for: reviewing study methodologies and proposals; supporting recommendations in comments or filings in public proceedings; and making product feature recommendations. Respondents have also used these papers for: designing, developing and evaluating pilots and marketing and outreach strategies; conducting energy savings potential studies; and conducting academic research (e.g., using experimental designs). Finally, many respondents planned to continue their current use of the papers (as noted above) and to explore other opportunities, such as: developing program and speaker ideas; building networks of resources for policy makers and program implementers; and strategic planning. Most respondents felt that another set of white papers was needed. The list of potential papers was lengthy and diverse. And several respondents provided suggestions for improving the preparation, marketing, presentation, and utilization of the white papers. Several respondents provided suggestions for conducting other activities, besides preparing more white papers, in the area of behavior and energy. One key activity was presenting the information from the white papers more widely by discussing the topics in workshops, conferences, webinars, and journal articles. Another key activity was conducting research and demonstrations of behavioral motivation principles, especially designing, testing, and evaluating programs using experimental program design, and funding research topics that were identified in these white papers. In conclusion, the respondents felt that additional white papers, field research, and outreach activities should be supported by the CPUC in ensuring that behavioral issues are integrated in the implementation of energy efficiency programs.

A Review of Energy Reduction Competitions: What Have We Learned?

This report reviews a representative selection of completed and ongoing energy reduction competitions and uses the lessons learned to provide best practice guidance on the design, implementation, and evaluation of future programs. We address four key research questions: How effective have been competitions at changing behavior and reducing energy? How long do energy savings persist after the end of the competition? Under what circumstances are competitions more or less effective? What are common best practices for the design, implementation and evaluation of energy and resource conservation competitions? The primary target audiences for this report are electric and natural gas utilities seeking to broaden their portfolio of behavior-based interventions, as well as potential designers, implementers and evaluators of energy reduction competitions.

Behavioral Assumptions Underlying Energy Efficiency Programs for Businesses

This white paper examines the behavioral assumptions underlying utility sponsored energy efficiency programs offered to businesses in California. It describes how assumptions about business decision making (that are built into the design of these programs) can affect the ability of these programs to foster increased investment in energy efficient technology.

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Electric Grid (108)

WECC Wind Generator Development

A presentation for the i4Energy Seminar Series for Spring 2011, February 4, 2011, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California

Real Time Grid Reliability Management 2005

PowerPoint presentation given at UCLA SG Thought Leadership Forum March 28, 2012

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Energy Use in Buildings Enabling Technologies (130)

Controls and User Interface

Project Final Report prepared for CIEE and California Energy Commission

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Carbon Sequestration (38)

Environmental non-governmental organizations’ perceptions of geologic sequestration

Environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been influential in shaping public perceptions of environmental problems, their causes and potential solutions. Over the last decade, carbon capture and storage (CCS) has emerged as a potentially important technological response to climate change. In this paper we investigate how leading US NGOs perceive geologic sequestration, a potentially controversial part of CCS. We examine how and why their perceptions and strategies might differ, and if and how they plan to shape public perceptions of geologic sequestration. We approach these questions through semi-structured interviews with representatives from a range of NGOs, supplemented by content analysis of their documents. We find that while all the NGOs are committed to combating climate change, their views on CCS as a mitigation strategy vary considerably. We find that these views are correlated with NGOs' histories of activism and advocacy, as well as with their sources of funding. Overall, most of these NGOs accept the necessity of geologic sequestration, while only a small fraction do not.

The role of social factors in shaping public perception of CCS: results of multi-state focus group interviews in the US

Three of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnerships analyzed community perspectives on carbon capture and storage (CCS) through focus groups and interviews in five communities. These perspectives were analyzed in the context of each community’s history and its social and economic characteristics. The results were considered for their insights into specific concerns within each region, as well as to assess inter-region commonalities. In all cases, factors such as past experience with government, existing low socioeconomic status, desire for compensation, and/or perceived benefit to the community were of greater concern than the concern about the risks of the technology itself. This paper discusses the findings from the joint review of the focus groups and the potential lessons for application to CCS deployment.

An analysis of wildfire fuel treatments as a carbon offset project type

Fuel treatments involve the removal of biomass from targeted areas in the forested landscape to reduce the risk of uncharacteristically severe wildfires caused by excess biomass in the forest. This report describes a landscape-scale case study in southern central Oregon that modeled the impact of fuel treatments on wildfire behavior and associated carbon dioxide emissions and assesses the project’s ability to generate carbon offsets that meet the quality criteria identified by the Offset Quality Initiative. The report makes two primary findings. The first is that the case study is likely a carbon-neutral project, meaning that few or no offsets would result from the project activity. The second is that, while this project type could generate quality offsets, the adoption rate would likely be low due to the current inability to implement quality offset projects on federal lands and the expense of the activities required to ensure that the carbon benefit is real and permanent. For these reasons, fuel treatment projects are unlikely to be a viable source of quality offsets. This report recommends that a federal policy decision be made to determine if offset projects can involve federal lands. This is important not only for this project type but for others that hope to utilize waste biomass (e.g., biochar and energy generation projects). This report also encourages the development of fuel treatment projects because the risk of uncharacteristically severe wildfires is likely to increase with climate change and such projects provide a host of climate change adaptation and mitigation benefits.

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Climate Change (57)

Aircraft Measurements of the Impacts of Pollution Aerosols on Clouds and Precipitation over the Sierra Nevada

Recent publications suggest that anthropogenic aerosols suppress orographic precipitation in California and elsewhere. A field campaign (SUPRECIP: Suppression of Precipitation) was conducted to investigate this hypothesized aerosol effect. The campaign consisted of aircraft measurements of the polluting aerosols, the composition of the clouds ingesting them, and the way the precipitation‐forming processes are affected. SUPRECIP was conducted during February and March of 2005 and February and March of 2006. The flights documented aerosols and orographic clouds flowing into the central Sierra Nevada from upwind densely populated industrialized/urbanized areas and contrasted them with the aerosols and clouds downwind of the sparsely populated areas in the northern Sierra Nevada. SUPRECIP found that the aerosols transported from the coastal regions are augmented by local sources in the Central Valley, resulting in high concentrations of aerosols in the eastern parts of the Central Valley and the Sierra foothills. This pattern is consistent with the detected patterns of suppressed orographic precipitation that occur primarily in the southern and central Sierra Nevada but not in the north. The precipitation suppression occurs mainly in the orographic clouds that are triggered from the boundary layer over the foothills and propagate over the mountains, although the elevated orographic clouds that form at the crest are minimally affected. The clouds are affected mainly during the second half of the day and the subsequent evening, when solar heating mixes the boundary layer up to cloud bases. Local, yet unidentified non‐urban sources are suspected to play a major role.

The Response of Vegetation Distribution, Ecosystem Productivity, and Fire in California to Future Climate Scenarios Simulated by the MC1 Dynamic Vegetation Model

The objective of this study was to dynamically simulate the response of vegetation distribution, carbon, and fire to three scenarios of future climate change for California using the MAPSSCENTURY (MC1) dynamic general vegetation model. Under all three scenarios, Alpine/Subalpine Forest cover declined with increased growing season length and warmth, and increases in the productivity of evergreen hardwoods with increased temperature led to the displacement of Evergreen Conifer Forest by Mixed Evergreen Forest. The simulated responses to changes in precipitation were complex, involving not only the effect on vegetation productivity, but also changes in tree-grass competition mediated by fire. Grassland expanded, largely at the expense of Woodland and Shrubland, even under the relatively cool and moist PCM-A2 climate scenario where increased woody plant production was offset by increased wildfire. Increases in net primary productivity (NPP) under the PCM-A2 climate scenario contributed to a simulated carbon sink of about 321 teragrams (353.8 million tons) for California by the end of the century. Declines in net primary productivity (NPP) under the two warmer and drier GFDL climate scenarios, most evident under the GFDL-A2 scenario, contributed to a net loss of carbon ranging from about 76 to 129 Tg (83.8 to 142.2 million tons) by the end of the century. Total annual area burned in California increased under all three scenarios, ranging from 9%–15% above the historical norm by the end of the century. Regional variation in the simulated changes in area burned was largely a product of changes in vegetation productivity and shifts in the relative dominance of woody plants and grasses. Annual biomass consumption by fire by the end of the century was about 18% greater than the historical norm under the more productive PCM-A2 scenario. Under the warmer and drier GFDL scenarios, simulated biomass consumption was also greater than normal for the first few decades of the century as droughtstressed woodlands and shrublands burned and were converted to grassland. After this transitional period, lower than normal NPP produced less fuel, and biomass consumed was at, or below, the historical norm by the end of the century under the GFDL scenarios. Considerable uncertainty exists with respect to regional-scale impacts of global warming on the natural ecosystem of California. Much of this uncertainty resides in the differences among different GCM climate scenarios and assumed trajectories of future greenhouse gas emissions as illustrated in this study. In addition, ecosystem models and their response to projected climate change can always be improved through careful testing and enhancement of model processes. The direct effects of increasing CO2 on ecosystem productivity and water use, and assumptions regarding fire suppression and the availability of ignition sources, were identified as sources of uncertainty to be addressed through further model testing and development.

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Planning & Evaluation (143)

Drought Analyses Of The California Central Valley Surface

A series of drought simulations were performed using the California Department of Water Resources codes and historical datasets representing a range of droughts from mild to severe for time periods lasting up to 60 years. Land use, agricultural cropping patterns, and water demand were held fixed at the 1973-2003 mean and water supply decreased by effective amounts ranging between 25 and 50 percent for the Central Valley, representing light to severe drought types. An examination of the impacts include four sub-basins, the Sacramento Basin, the San Joaquin Basin, the Tulare Basin, and the Eastside Drainage. Model output results suggest the greatest impacts are at the San Joaquin and Tulare Basins, regions that are heavily irrigated. Surface diversions decrease by as much as 42 percent in these regions. Stream-to-aquifer flows reversed and aquifer storage dropped. Most significant was the decline in groundwater head for the severe drought cases, where results suggest the water table is unlikely to recovery within the foreseeable future. However, the overall response to such droughts is not as severe as anticipated and the northern Central Valley may act as groundwater insurance to sustain California during extended dry periods.

Duct Leakage Modeling in EnergyPlus and Analysis of Energy Savings from Implementing SAV with InCITe

This project addressed two significant deficiencies in air-handling systems for large commercial building: duct leakage and duct static pressure reset. Both constitute significant energy reduction opportunities for these buildings. The overall project goal is to bridge the gaps in current duct performance modeling capabilities, and to expand our understanding of air-handling system performance in California large commercial buildings. The purpose of this project is to provide technical support for the implementation of a duct leakage modeling capability in EnergyPlus, to demonstrate the capabilities of the new model, and to carry out analyses of field measurements intended to demonstrate the energy saving potential of the SAV with InCITeTM duct static pressure reset (SPR) technology. A new duct leakage model has been successfully implemented in EnergyPlus, which will enable simulation users to assess the impacts of leakage on whole-building energy use and operation in a coupled manner. This feature also provides a foundation to support code change proposals and compliance analyses related to Title 24 where duct leakage is an issue. Our example simulations continue to show that leaky ducts substantially increase fan power: 10% upstream and 10% downstream leakage increases supply fan power 30% on average compared to a tight duct system (2.5% upstream and 2.5% downstream leakage). Much of this increase is related to the upstream leakage rather than to the downstream leakage. This does not mean, however, that downstream leakage is unimportant. Our simulations also demonstrate that ceiling heat transfer is a significant effect that needs to be included when assessing the impacts of duct leakage in large commercial buildings. This is not particularly surprising, given that “ceiling regain” issues have already been included in residential analyses as long as a decade ago (e.g., ASHRAE Standard 152); mainstream simulation programs that are used for large commercial building energy analyses have not had this capability until now. Our analyses of data that we collected during our 2005 tests of the SAV with InCITeTM duct static pressure reset technology show that this technology can substantially reduce fan power (in this case, by about 25 to 30%). Tempering this assessment, however, is that cooling and heating coil loads were observed to increase or decrease significantly depending on the time window used. Their impact on cooling and heating plant power needs to be addressed in future studies; without translating the coil loads to plant equipment energy use, it is not possible to judge the net impact of this SPR technology on whole-building energy use. If all of the loads had decreased, such a step would not be as necessary.

Wind Energy Forecasting: A Review of State-of-the-Art and Recommendations for Better Forecasts

Wind energy in the United States has increased dramatically over the last decade. The rapid growth in installed wind power capacity has led to an increased interest in wind energy forecasting. This report discusses the importance of forecasting for wind power industry and reviews state-of-the-art methodologies for forecasting wind energy and output ramp rates. This report also discusses available data sources for validation and calibration and makes recommendations on best practices for wind forecasting and on future research.

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